Well-organized operations and maintenance (O&M) and outage efforts enable power plants to reduce overall operating costs, improve equipment reliability, and increase long-term productivity. Experienced contractors can help plant staff maximize the success of their outages and O&M endeavors.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” goes a popular adage attributed to Benjamin Franklin. The absence of proper planning can detrimentally affect the success of outages and regular operations and maintenance (O&M) conducted at power plants. Contractors, such as Fluor, that specialize in such tasks can help ensure effective planning and execution.
“We try to help our clients define the scope of their outages by getting involved at the conceptual stage,” Rick Graves, senior vice president at the Fluor Power Group, told POWER in January. Fluor is a leading provider of outage planning and O&M services to U.S. power generation facilities and has experience providing these services in the areas of nuclear, gas, coal-fired, and hydro-electric power generation.
Early Involvement Is Key
When Fluor’s representatives interface with power plant managers, they can offer to provide O&M services ranging from operational readiness, asset performance improvement, and outage execution to total O&M support. In order to help clients, the company has developed tools that help to improve plant performance. For example, Fluor provides O&M services to Luminant’s fleet of fossil-fuel units, including the Oak Grove Power Plant. (For more information, see “Luminant’s Oak Grove Power Plant Earns POWER’ s Highest Honor,” in our August 2010 issue or online at http://www.powermag.com.)
By getting involved during the conceptual stage of the outage planning process with clients, the Fluor staff can use their benchmarking data to identify potential improvement opportunities in existing plant schedules and maintenance techniques (Figure 1). These opportunities can be realized through use of subject matter expertise and lean technologies, supplemental maintenance and contractor management, or total program management and execution. Graves pointed out that the planning phase also includes thorough inspections of the plants and equipment condition, which is key to reducing “discovery work” and unplanned activities.
|1. A plan is the first structure. By getting involved during the conceptual stage of outage planning with its clients, Fluor maximizes the success of their efforts. Recently, Fluor completed an environmental improvement, construction, and small capital construction maintenance program for two units owned by a southeast U.S.-based utility. Courtesy: Fluor |
“Every facility has its own outage planning process,” Graves said. “Whether it is an in-and-out job or a long term relationship such as Fluor’s ‘Alliance’ clients, full integration with our clients in order to provide a seamless process is the goal. The integration of planning is crucial.”
Fluor’s project team executes a scope of services with the plants it serves. That plan is executed in detail in order to maximize the efficiency of the work performed during an outage. Promoting efficiency is an important objective for Fluor because it helps clients optimize the cost of execution. Fluor has routinely experienced significant craft productivity improvements with this approach, resulting in substantial cost savings for its clients.